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Strong, urgent style of ambient raw black metal - 90%

NausikaDalazBlindaz, April 6th, 2013

A very interesting release even if it has no official title, "(Untitled)" has a very strong and urgent style of raw black metal. The band Fell Voices is billed as a black metal act with ambient and drone elements in their music. Almost right from the get-go, the rhythms are full-on and powerful, and the guitars readily venture into riff and melody territories hitherto unknown in black metal - territories that, once you find them, you realise have always existed in that music. Changes of key add extra tension and mystery to the hard driving music which, through a mix of repetition, incessant tremolo guitar playing and forceful rhythms, take listeners to new and different levels of awareness. Now that's what I call trance music!

The first track is an excellent example of what Fell Voices are capable of: there's just no time for rest, the music urgently sweeps listeners along in its wake. The drumming is busy and helps to drive the music. Riffs may be repetitive for brief periods but once replaced by a new set, you don't often hear them again - although there is one near-deranged set of riffs that bookends the track (almost) and defines it. Reaching the halfway mark, the music slows down and the repetition becomes more insistent until the pace all but collapses and a point of singularity is attained with one guitar lethargically intoning one loop that threatens to fragment into isolated tones going up and down the musical scale. The tremolo lead guitar leads the other instruments into building up the track again. The whole 22-minute piece is a thrilling ride into some lesser known parts of raw, fast-paced and aggressive black metal with a slight atmospheric edge.

The second track is similar to the first track in its first half save for a dreamy and blues-tinged slow beginning. There is aggression aplenty and the urgency seems even greater than in the first untitled piece. Atmospheric effects are introduced in the fourth, very intense minute of playing and the guitars and drums make way for the cold blowing winds. The delirious tremolo guitars dominate the track along with insistent, never-ending drumming and near the halfway point turn up the level of intense emotion and feel for the music several extra notches. Vocal screams, usually far back in the track at the best of times, reach glass-shattering levels in their madness.

Beyond the halfway mark, the piece continues in its emotional intensity until a few minutes before the end where a level of absolute calm is attained. A fragile piano solo melody traces out the stillness of the nirvana reached here.

By the standards of Cascadian and US West Coast black metal, this is very outstanding and distinctive music in its passion, energy and intensity. Perhaps the lead guitar work might make the most impression in its relentless hypnotic looping repetition but the drumming, which could be more prominent in the mix, is a stand-out for its drive. The riffing is another stand-out in its conception and execution but even these would pass unnoticed were it not for the rhythms backing it up and the musicians' enthusiasm and belief. This is one album where the band's commitment to their music is absolute.

If you consider yourself a fan of ambient raw black metal, you should consider giving this recording your time of day.